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Family of unarmed 18-year-old shot dead by police does not condone violence
Devastated: Lesley McSpadden, pictured left on Sunday, said she did not condone the looting that took place after a vigil for her son
The family of an unarmed Missouri 18-year-old who was shot dead by police this weekend have condemned a frightening riot that erupted in St Louis last night claiming the violence was not what the teen would have wanted.
In a statement to Fox News last night, a cousin of victim Mike Brown said the looting, which followed a peaceful vigil for the teen, was ‘very upsetting’ to their family.
‘I just want everyone to know and understand that the stealing and breaking in stores is not what Mike will want, it is very upsetting to me and my family,’ the statement read.
‘Our family didn’t ask for this but for Justice and Peace… Please let my family grieve in Peace in (sic) stop the violence in the street, we don’t want this happening when we protest for justice for my cousin Mike Brown, please get this message out to the people that the Mike Brown’s family do not want this.’
Speaking to Fox News off camera, Brown’s mother, Leslie McSpadden, said she was ‘furious’ by what has unfolded.
She told the TV station that the violence was ‘disrespecting the memory of her son’ and was not helping her cause, which is to seek justice for her son and peace for her family.
The devastated mother, who is still in shock after losing her son, added that she was even scared to go home last night because of the chaos in the streets.
People smashed car windows and looted armloads of goods from stores after the vigil for the unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday.
The candlelight gathering was held in Ferguson, St Louis for Brown, who police said was shot multiple times after a scuffle involving an officer, Brown and another person in the predominantly black suburb of the city.
After the vigil, which attracted thousands, some people looted a convenience store, while several other stores along a main road near the shooting scene were broken into and looted, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store.
People were seen carrying bags of food and toilet paper and TV footage showed streams of people walking out of a liquor store carrying bottles of alcohol.
In some cases protesters were also standing on top police cars and taunting officers who stood stoic, often in riot gear.
St Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said there were no reports of injuries but confirmed widespread property damage.
‘Right now I’m just worried about people, not property,’ he said.
At least 32 people had been arrested by the time the looting stopped, according to Fox News.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of protesters had gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters.
At one point, many of them marched into an adjacent police building, some chanting ‘Don’t shoot me’ while holding their hands in the air.
Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn’t use force and the crowd eventually left.
County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting of Brown occurred after an officer encountered two people on the street near an apartment complex in Ferguson.
Mr Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began.
He added at least one shot was fired from the officer’s gun inside the police car.
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still establishing what happened inside the police car. It was not clear if Brown was the man who struggled with the officer.
The struggle spilled out into the street, where Brown was shot multiple times.
He also said all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer’s gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.